If you believe that the care of your landscape simply stops once the weather gets cold, you are making a mistake that we see all too often and a mistake that leads to costly damage to your plants. Even if this winter turns out to be mild overall, it’s still winter, and the stress of weather that changes from cold to warm to cold can damage your trees and shrubs if they aren’t properly prepared. So, you can help your plants flourish once the spring arrives by following these simple winter lawn care tips:
- Prune weak or vulnerable branches – Ice or snow accumulation can lead to breakage over the winter since the wood tends to harden a bit and become more brittle. The winter wind combined with that ice or snow provides even more stress to your branches. Don’t forget to remove anything that’s diseased or infested.
- Trim anything that may damage property or leave you without power – If any of your trees or shrubs are too close to utility lines, now is the time to remedy this. Who wants to be left without power once the temperature drops and those extra holiday guests are over? You also don’t want a limb falling and damaging your own home or one of your neighbors’ homes, so trim these now to save yourself a headache later. Be careful, though. Trimming trees in high places or near a power line is definitely a job for a professional with all the right equipment.
- Winterize your irrigation system – Irrigation systems are a great tool to help keep your landscape looking great. You’ll want to protect your investment by preparing your system for storage over winter. Shut off the water supply, drain the lines, and store them in a warm dry place to keep them operating year after year.
- Don’t forget to water – Even if you’ve packed your irrigation away, your landscape will still require water in the winter dormancy period. If it has been a dry winter and the winter wind has been active, you’ll want to keep your trees and shrubs healthy by providing the moisture they need. Go out early in the day a few times a month and water the trees and shrubs deeply. Pick a day where the temperature is below 40F and preferably when the wind isn’t blowing for the best results.
- Follow the recommended winter lawn care for sensitive plantings – By simply knowing what you have planted around your home, you can save yourself the hassle of having to replace something that was lost over the winter. Sensitive plants like crape myrtles require extra care until they have an established root base (and even then it wouldn’t hurt to protect them). You can take steps to protect these and other winter sensitive plantings through a combination of proper mulching, wrapping them in burlap or plastic, moving what you can indoors, or even replacing them with another more hardy option for a typical south-central Pennsylvania winter.
We do offer professional consultations to evaluate your landscape for these and other problems that may occur over the winter months. We offer training in plant identification and pruning, which will help you save money in the long run by smartly investing in the proper services at the right time.
** BONUS **
While we’re on the topic of winter lawn care tips, we wanted to make a quick recommendation on recycling your Christmas trees. While we do not offer a tree recycling program, we encourage you to keep them out of landfills any way you can. Many municipalities have recycling programs for trees, so check with your city, borough, or township.